Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Critics' bootcamp: Tick, tick, tick

Sometimes the teacher, sometimes the student. I'm about to become the latter again, for two weeks anyway, as one of eight "critic fellows" at the O'Neill Critics Institute in Waterford, CT. Thanks to a generous scholarship from The New York Times, I'm able to attend the seminars and performances in conjunction with concurrent workshops for playwrights, directors and actors.

We critics will be living in college dorm rooms (no a/c!) and eating dorm cafeteria food--and checking ourselves several times a day for Lyme ticks, something we've been warned about repeatedly in thick stacks of orientation literature.

Yipes. I'm used to Texas chiggers, but ticks? I'm a-skeered of tiny livestock hitching a ride on my hide!

The purpose of the O'Neill (named for the playwright, of course) is to bring together critics with those we regularly critique. We'll be seeing new plays and writing about them on nightly deadlines. Then our reviews will be critiqued daily by "mentors" from Newsday, The Village Voice and other publications. Some academic theater professionals also will be testing our mettle.

It's an exciting oppportunity and a trifle intimidating. But it's always good to get a new perspective on the thing you do for a living (in my case, writing about theater for two newspapers), no matter how long you've been doing it.

And for a couple of weeks, the actors of North Texas can breathe a little easier knowing I'm out of town.

Before and after the O'Neill I'll be in Manhattan, seeing some shows and trying not to shop too much. Having just moved to a new place, I'm still de-acquiring years of stuff I no longer want, need or understand. So many staplers, so few things that need stapling. And that photo of me and Tony "Luke Spencer" Geary at the 1982 Daytime Emmys-- he had a terrible power-perm, I had helmet bangs. Crikeys.

A good summer assignment: Fill eight Hefty bags with detritus you've been meaning to get rid of. If any of it is usable, donate it to charity. If it's not, toss it in the Dumpster. Ridding yourself of the clutter feels as good as losing 10 pounds.

See y'all on the back end of July. I'll probably be out of touch till after the O'Neill experience.

Here's hoping the mentors aren't too mean. And that while I'm gone, Professor Lunch-Guy doesn't start eating salad with some other hot chick.

Lyme ticks, away!

8 Comments:

Blogger SuperHolmie said...

Crap! If you had a garage sale and I missed it, I will be pissed.

Congrats on the CT thing-- sounds like a blast except for the possibility of contracting a deadly illness. Have fun!

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aWear long pants. Tuck the bottoms in your socks. Avoid tall grass. You'll be fine.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous renita said...

oh yes, decluttering is freeing. i did it last summer when i moved, and unfortunately, i find myself about to move again this summer. so there will be even more decluttering. :)

12:02 PM  
Anonymous The Procrastinator said...

I will pay cash-money (or foodie equivalent) to see pic of celebrity power perm and lady helmet bangs.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

As for your assignment, I fill eight Hefty bags at least once per quarter with our collective detritus. And I get made fun of by all relatives and friends who think it's hilarious that I know the definition and pronunciation of the word, detritus.

They don't have the first clue of either.

Anyway ... congrats on the fellowship. Very exciting!

And watch out for those damn lyme-tick thingies. I have some home-remedy stuff for you if you need it.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Chip Mahaney said...

There are only about 5 summer nights a year in Connecticut when you really *need* A/C at night. Most nights, a good fan will do if it's warm. If it's too warm when you turn in, take a shower before you get in bed.

Don't sweat the ticks too much unless you're hiking in the woods, rolling in the grass near the woods, or gardening. It's good to be wary, and it's good to check once a day, but it's still very rare that people get bitten if they're doing regular indoor/outdoor activities.

Enjoy Connecticut!

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

LOL, small world...the company I work for supplied the sound system for the O'Neill workshops, and I personally put most of it together in the shop.

Anyway, saw this article and was curious to hear your thoughts on it....

10:59 PM  
Anonymous littlem said...

You all make it sound like our East Coast ticks are worse than them Texas chiggers.

Prof, you can get antibiotics if you get bit. A friend of mine is just getting over it. Also take anon's (2nd post) advice.

And if you warn us next time before you come into Manhattan we will buy you very dry martinis to take away the fear of ticks. At lunch even.

12:08 AM  

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